Gun Shy are the hottest band on the South Coast. Since putting out their debut EP, First Transmission, a visceral reinterpretation of textural shoegaze, they've played lots of shows to great acclaim across Southampton and beyond. Formed around Josh Bannister, former guitarist of punk band Milk Teeth, when he decided to pursue a more experimental kinda music, they're a noisy proposition that I can imagine almost everyone who follows this blog will want to sink their teeth into.
Alongside their shimmering guitar sound, their artistic vision stands them out. Take this - a video ya can only see on Vapour Trail - the Martin Wisniewska directed motion picture for fuzz-feedback nugget With Us. It's an unassailably cool video that rings of Dali and Méliès with its mysterious grayscale radiance. If you need any more proof they're a band you should be following adamantly, watch this...
We're completely smitten with Gun Shy, at Vapour Trail, so as well as the premiere, we had a few questions to put forward to the band. Here's a few things I asked bassist Will Palmer, about all things video, noise and the future.
Could you tell me a bit about Gun Shy, and how the band formed?
Gun Shy is Josh Bannister on guitar and vocals, Dom Wright on drums, George Turner on guitar and whatever else he can get his hands on and myself on bass and vocals. The band came together after Josh moved to Southampton fairly recently and made plans to jam with Dom. Josh put out a message on Twitter asking for any musicians in Southampton to make themselves known and I responded, not expecting anything to come of it. The next evening we hung out and played music together for the first time and it became pretty obvious that this was something that was going to work.
Where does the band name come from?
We chose the name after throwing around lots of different names a couple days after the first time we hung out. We decided that we wanted a name that was reflective of the contrast in dynamics that are prominent in our sound and Gun Shy seemed to fit the bill pretty well.
I think there's a lot of classic US college rock and shoegaze in your sound, what sorta stuff influences you?
The shoegaze influences are definitely there, and I know that as a whole, we're all in to bands like Slowdive and Hum or even more recent stuff like Nothing, but our individual influences are so varied, which definitely lends well to our work ethic of not wanting to repeat ourselves and be spontaneous in our songwriting. Personally, my bass playing is very influenced by bands ranging from Modest Mouse to The Cure, whereas I know that George is really into bands like From Indian Lakes and Foxing. Dom's a true punk and loves The Menzingers and I know Josh has mentioned before that he's into anything from Slint to Deftones. We're all in to different stuff which is what keeps it interesting, I think.
What do you think the local music scene's like?
I moved to Southampton quite recently, so I can only talk about what I've seen, but from what I know there's a huge community of people that are putting on shows as well as supporting those that do and it definitely caters to those that are interested in the DIY scene. Everyone I've met so far has been really supportive of what we're doing as well, which is great.
Tell us about the video to With Us...
Our good friend Martin Wisniewska (GingerDope Photography) directed it for us. She's been extremely supportive and documented everything we've done from the first time we all hung out, and she directed the video for our previous single To Leave, so it was a no brainer for her to do the video for us. She did a great job with the video and it really emphasises the fragility of that song, if you like.
To me the video has the same kinda feel that lots of the early experimental films had... to what extent is this the case?
I can definitely see that. We chose Martin because she completely understands the band so we know that whatever she does we'll love it. This is great because it means that she she can really do her thing and have complete creative control, which is exactly what happened with the video, and it looks incredible.
What's next for the band?
We do this band because we really enjoy doing it, and there's no pressure to write any certain kind of song or do something in a certain way so we've been pretty motivated to keep working and see how things progress. We have a lot of cool shows coming up over the summer and we're currently in the process of demoing some new songs. We all have commitments with uni or jobs as well so we have that to focus on as well, but there's definitely no sign of us slowing down anytime soon.
Gun Shy's "First Transmission" EP is out now... hear it here.
Words: Calum Cashin